The company behind Kim Kardashian: Hollywood just announced plans to develop a new mobile game with Taylor Swift later this year. It turns out Swift will be filling a blank space on the company's balance sheet after its app starring her rival Katy Perry flopped.
Katy Perry Pop was one of Glu Mobile's "biggest disappointments" in the back half of last year, Chief Financial Officer Eric Ludwig said on an earnings call Wednesday. The company cited the game's poor performance as the reason it cut its revenue and profit forecasts for 2016.
The hope that Swift — who Glu CEO Niccolo de Masi referred to as "the most popular person in the world" — will lift the company's performance is of note given the very public feud between the two pop stars. It's widely believed that Swift's "Bad Blood" is about Perry, and there's a long history of both stars subtweeting each other and drawing celebrity friends into their lines of fire. Now, the feud will extend to the iTunes App Store.
The Katy Perry game's failure to resonate with users was mostly due to Glu's own technical issues, as well as some creative decisions, like including something called "Katy Vision" and "various other quirkier elements," de Masi said on the call. Glu is best known for its wildly successful Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game, which was downloaded more than 28 million times, and remains its biggest title.
Katy Perry Pop launched in December "under the creative direction of Katy Perry herself," and featured the singer's "likeness, voice, and in-game video clips," according to a statement at the time.
Glu said today it entered a multi-year contract with Swift, who will work with the company on the game. It will likely follow a template similar to Kardashian's, plying players with in-app purchases. In a statement, Glu promised to deliver a "new and highly differentiated gaming experience."
If celebrity-focused games like these never go out of style, Swift stands to make (more) millions. Kardashian's game famously grossed over $74 million in 2014; at its peak, it was pulling in around $700,000 every day.
Since then, Glu has partnered with a host of celebrities with large social media followings, including Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Jason Statham, and Gordon Ramsay. Glu won't be out of the woods until it sees those followings translate into real dollars, though.
Be on the lookout for references to mobile gaming, Glu, iTunes, and "in-app purchases" in future songs and tweets from Perry and Swift.
Brendan Klinkenberg is a tech reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Brendan Klinkenberg at email@example.com.
Sapna Maheshwari is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Maheshwari reports on retail and e-commerce.
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